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  1. #1
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    Primal guide to tea...

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    Disclaimer:

    I have not ever conducted any scientific studies on tea and am not a licensed MD, nutritionist, or naturopath. This information is not to be taken as gospel truth, but merely intended to provide guidelines and useful information for those fascinated by the subject of tea, its health benefits, and the culture behind the leaf.


    What this guide is not:

    This guide is not a tasting guide. Though I will provide brewing instructions designed to provide for optimum taste for some more popular types of tea, if you're simply looking for a list of tea varietals, tasting notes, descriptions of flavor profiles, brewing instructions for individual types of tea leaves, that is, unfortunately, much beyond the scope of this simple message board format AND my ability and time to dedicate to putting information together on this subject.

    Now, with that in mind, let's get to it.

    The origin of tea:

    As you may or may not know, tea technically comes only from the leaves of a single plant known by the scientific name of Camellia Sinensis. Lots of other beverages made from steeping the leaves, roots, bark, and stems of various herbs and spices have been given the moniker of "tea" but they are more accurately referred to by the Asian term "tisane." There is nothing wrong with a good tisane from time to time (recent articles on the blog point to Mark and others being fans of tisanes and their potential health benefits), but if you tried to call an herbal infusion of this nature a "tea" anywhere in Asia, you would be met with confusion or if at a reputable tea house, even sometimes, offense.

    Another thing to be aware of is that there are several dozen varieties of the Camellia plant but most are simply decorative and only the Camellia Sinensis variety provides leaves, stems, and roots suitable for steeping.

    So, when and where did this plant first grow and how was it discovered?

    Well, there are several legends and stories in Asian lore that provide their own telling of the origins of tea but two of the most popular are the legend of the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma and the story of one infamous (but nameless) Emperor of China.

    According to the legend of Bodhidharma, who was the founder of Chan Buddhism, he fell asleep after continually meditating in front of a wall for eight or nine years (oh no, gasp, shock, and awe!). In anger, he cut off his eyelids to ensure that this would never again happen. He threw them off the ground and left them in disgust. Then the eyelids took root and grew into the first tea plants. This legend makes sense when you realize that Asian monks were infamous for consuming large amounts of tea to help keep them awake during extended meditation sessions.

    The story of our infamous Chinese emperor is a little bit less gruesome. Sometime in the 2700s BC there was a law in China that water had to be boiled before it was consumed (they didn't know why, but they knew that people who drank their water boiled had fewer diseases and better health). The story says that a few leaves (presumably tea leaves) fell into the freshly boiled water of the Emperor's cup as he was relaxing in his garden. He did not see them and then proceeded to drink the water. Intrigued by the interesting flavor, he did discover the leaves in his cup. He continued to drink the brew and was pleased by how good it made him feel.

    Ok, the legends are interesting, but I want the sciencey stuff.

    Ah, well then, let's get to the geographical origins of tea. Botanists believe tea is most likely to have originated in the area of Asia where southwest China and northeast India intersect. This is believed because the oldest living tea trees of BOTH the China and Assam varietals are found. In fact, though tea can grow well elsewhere, these are generally the only places where you will find large, wild tea trees growing in forests. The Chinese region of Yunnan, which is famous for producing some of the world's finest black teas and is the place of origin for the infamous "fermented" tea known as pu'erh and the Indian region of Assam, known for the larger-leafed "Assam Bush" variety of the Camellia Sinensis plant which only grows in this area of the world are the specific areas where tea is thought to have first taken root.

    Ok, so now I know the region of origin, but what about the historical origin? And I don't mean those legends again!

    Well, tea was likely consumed by the native peoples living in both Assam and Yunnan (long before they had these names). They wouldn't have known how to steep the leaves of course, to make the tea beverage, but anthropologists think that as many as 20,000-30,000 years ago (so, yes, before agriculture, making tea primal) the natives of these regions would have been drawn to the energizing and revitalizing qualities of the plant's leaves (lol, caffeine). This would have been a useful adaptation because there was a need for people to remain awake at night to watch for dangers as other tribe/clan members slept. Tea leaves can help with that.

    Turning the tea leaves into a beverage rather than simply eating the leaves like a vegetable likely began in Yunnan. Natives of the region did so by grinding the leaves into a powder (think the slightly less refined precursor to Japanese matcha) and whipping the powdered leaves into a thick, white froth. So, in a way this still wasn't really "steeping" the leaves and they continued, after a fashion, to consume the entire leaf, albeit in a slightly different form. This development probably happened sometime in the Shang Dynasty (though placing this development more accurately than that is pretty much impossible).
    At first, as tea consumption spread around China it was revered as a medicine only. The Chinese immediately recognized that consuming tea made people feel better and seemed to treat a wide range of maladies. For hundreds of years tea remained primarily for this purpose.

    It probably wasn't until sometime around Tang Dynasty that tea drinking became popular for reasons of pleasure. And no, they hadn't mastered "steeping" the leaves yet. They were still grinding the leaves and whipping it into a bitter froth. This is, however, likely the era that "tea masters" came to be the authority on all things tea and the developing tea customs.

    Tea Masters, eh? How were those esteemed "experts" of a damn leaf selected?

    During the Tang Dynasty "tea brewing" contests were held regularly. Basically this meant competitors would do their best to whip that tea into a froth. The winner was selected by which competitor produced a tea with the thickest and brightest white froth. Taste wasn't even a factor in the judging! Most teaware was black at this time to emphasize the bright white froth the brewers sought to achieve.

    You're kidding. So if you could produce a good froth you were a "tea master?"

    Yep.

    Wow.

    *crickets*

    Alright, but enough about this God damned froth. When did steeping become the standard way of preparing tea?

    Well, it's a little unclear when the change in brewing style began, but by the Song Dynasty it was pretty much complete. The historical records seem to indicate that the frothy powdered teas popular in the Tang Dynasty were extremely bitter and high court nobles were searching for a better way to brew a more "delicate" cup of tea. There is a lot of controversy as to how this developed, but we know the end point was eventually steeping of the leaves. This also meant a drastic change in the way tea leaves were grown and processed since a new brewing method meant that tea had to be grown in a way that produced leaves that actually tasted good when steeped. This was also the likely era when different varieties of tea started to emerge. Oxidation may have been a ways off yet, so no black or oolong teas were in the picture, but many famous Chinese green teas are still grown using the methods and processing practices developed during this period.

    Oooooooooh, so many Chinese green teas of today date back to this era?

    They sure do. But there are also some varieties that came about later as well.
    Gotcha. But what about "oxidation?" I love my black and oolong teas. When did they discover this nifty tea "hack?"

    This process was actually discovered by accident. Tea was compressed into "tea cakes" to make it easy to transport on long journeys to Tibet, Mongolia, and beyond by pack animal. During these long journeys it was noted that the tea became distinctly darker and more "bold" tasting. Over time industrious tea processors realized that the more highly oxidized a tea was, the longer it would last. So oxidized teas could take long journeys well (ie the long ship rides to Europe and America).

    Sometimes the tea cakes would also "ferment" on these long journeys via pack animal (ferment =/= oxidation, they are completely different). Some of the traders and merchants particularly enjoyed the pungent flavors that these fermented tea cakes provided and as a result, they learned to manipulate this process as well, and pu'erh tea was born.

    Ah, and that explains how tea spread around the world as well.

    Yep, with one exception. Chinese monks preferred green tea to other types of tea and it was the Chinese monks who traveled to Japan who first introduced them to tea. This is why the majority of tea consumed in Japan, and the only teas actually grown in Japan are green teas.

    Gotcha. Well, I'm sure there's lots more history that you could share, but I want to know about the differences in the different tea types now.

    Ugh, now you've opened a can of worms...

  2. #2
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    Brewing tea!

    It is commonly believed that tea is classified by the color of the leaves and of the liquid the brewed leaves produce. This is partially true, but it is easier to think of them by levels of oxidation.

    White tea:
    This is the least processed of all tea types. The young, tender leaves and buds are simply taken off the plant and sun dried before being allowed a quick wither. Although white tea is not purposely oxidized, the leaves are so delicate that most white teas cannot avoid being slightly oxidized about 1-2%.

    Green tea:
    These are the tea plants allowed to grow a little bit longer. After plucking however, they are "fixed" by applying heat to the leaves. This can take the form of pan frying, roasting in an oven, or even "firing" the leaves briefly over an open flame. The Japanese almost exclusively "fix" their green teas using a quick steam of the delicate leaves lasting from 30 seconds to a minute. This fixing takes a lot of skill to do properly and not ruin the leaves, but if applied properly, it serves the purpose of stopping the leaves from oxidizing by deactivating the enzyme that causes it to occur. As a result, most green teas are completely unoxidized.

    Yellow tea:
    Yellow tea is fixed just like green tea is. The only difference is that the leaves are allowed to remain wet much longer than green tea which causes the leaves to "yellow" in color. This tea type is also completely unoxidized if made in the traditional Chinese style.

    Oolong tea:
    Like green tea, oolong tea must also be fixed to halt the oxidizing of the tea leaves. However, depending on the type, variety, and desired flavor of the tea the leaves are bruised to instigate oxidation to occur. Once the desired level of oxidation is reached, the leaves are then fixed. As a result the oolong class of teas are partially oxidized but never fully. They usually range from almost green (10% oxidation) to almost black (90% oxidized). This makes the possibilities for producing a unique style of oolong tea almost limitless.

    Black tea:
    Black tea is never fixed. It is tea that has simply been bruised like the oolong teas are but is allowed to oxidize to 100%.

    Pu'erh tea:
    Pu'erh tea can be either of the sheng (raw) or shou (cooked) styles. Sheng or raw pu'erh is green tea that has been compressed into cakes and allowed to naturally ferment for a long time it is not oxidized at all. Shou or cooked pu'erh is leaves that have been oxidized (10% all the way to 100%) and then fermented. Shou pu'erh was designed to produce a cheaper priced (but no less enjoyable) pu'erh tea that doesn't take dozens of years to ferment (though you still could if you wated to). Generally the longer the leaves have been fermented (for both sheng and shou pu'erhs) the higher quality the tea is. What makes a tea a pu'erh though, is not its oxidation level but the fact that the leaves have been fermented.

    Oh, ok that's really neat! Can you explain to me how these differences effect brewing parameters for my leaves though?

    Generally speaking, the less oxidized a tea is, the lower the brewing temperature is that you want to use.

    Think of it this way:

    White tea is steeped in water ranging from 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F. The more buds there are and the fewer leaves, the cooler the brewing temp should be.

    Japanese teas are typically brewed between 170-175 (though some picky brewers say 165). The notable exception is Japanese Gyuokuro which, depending on the fineness of the leaves is brewed at 140-160 MAX.

    Chinese green teas can take water from 175-185 just fine although certain teas (Dragonwell as a prime example) want lower temps and some (like gunpowder) like temps on the warmer side.

    Depending on the level of oxidation, oolongs can take anywhere from 180-200 degree water. The general rule of thumb is the closer your oolong leaves are to full oxidation the higher the temp to use.

    Black teas all brew fairly well at about 205 degrees. The Brits and their ilk are fond of just dumping boiling water on their leaves but this is a mistake! You will oversteep the leaves and make the brew particularly bitter. In fact, some higher-grade Chinese black teas with a lot of golden tips (buds) do best at an even lower temp of 190 degrees.

    Note: Darjeeling teas are CALLED black teas but are really oxidized at 80-90% so they are technically oolong teas. Use oolong temps for brewing them! 185 degrees for first flush, 190 for second flush.

    The only teas that want true boiling water for brewing are pu'erh teas (both sheng and shou). They take boiling water well and rarely oversteep.

    Ok, now I get the temperature range, but what about brewing times?

    Well, there really are two styles of brewing tea leaves. The temperature ranges I provided are generally used for both brewing styles so you won't have to relearn them.

    Style one is the one most of you will know. It is the "western style" of brewing and is based off of the idea of "less leaf, longer brewing time."

    Then there is the style the Asians are fond of called "Gong-fu" brewing. They use a much large quantity of leaves but brew for much shorter periods of time as well. This method is particularly well-suited for multiple steepings of your tea leaves.

    The western style uses almost exclusively, 1 teaspoon of tea leaves for every six ounces of water. This is regardless of tea type.

    In the western style, most white teas brew a first infusion of five minutes, a second infusion of seven minutes, and if you're up for it, a third infusion of ten minutes.

    For Japanese greens try to determine how steamed your tea is. Lightly steamed Japanese greens are steeped for two minutes with a second infusion of one minute and a third one (if brave) for about two minutes. Medium steamed Japanese greens are one-and-half minutes for first steep, 45 seconds on second steep, back to one-and-a-half if attempting a third brew. Heavy steamed Japanese greens are one minute on first steep, 30 seconds on second steep, and one minute again for third.

    Chinese greens get about two good steeps in the western style and should be 2-3 minutes for first steep, add 30 seconds for second steep.

    Oolong teas can take about 3-5 minutes (more oxidized can handle longer times) in this style of brewing. Slowly increase times for subsequent steeps and you can get four to five good ones if done properly. Shorter brewing times help yield more brews of course.

    Black teas are usually good for just one brew at four or five minutes. However, if you have a very tippy black tea you can get two good brews. If you do this, use about 190 degree water for both steeps. First steep is three minutes, go three-and-a-half for second steep.

    Pu'erh tea is the easiest to brew. Boiling water, five minutes, increase by about 15 seconds each time for up to 8 or 9 (yep, that's right!) subsequent infusions.

    Okie-dokie, but what about this "gong-fu" quackery?

    Well, it uses more leaf but with shorter brewing times so that you can rebrew the leaves several times over.

    Leaf amount depends on the type of tea you are using if brewing gong-fu style. This is because of the varying sizes of the tea leaves.

    I recommend you read this wonderful guide to gong-fu brewing. I don't like his extremely short brewing times, but I find his recommendations for amount of tea by volume of water is just about perfect:

    http://www.thechineseteashop.com/pdf...nese%20Tea.pdf

    For time I recommend...

    White tea gets about a minute, slowly increase for subsequent brewings. Done right, can resteep up to five times.

    Chinese greens get one minute each for first two steepings, one-and-a-half for steepings three and four. Four steepings.

    Oolongs are trickier. Lighter oolongs (less oxidized) need about a minute for first four steepings, five-six steepings one-and-a-half minutes, and maybe longer for subsequent steepings. More fully oxidized oolongs can take only 30 seconds for brewings one to four. 45 seconds on brewings five and six. A minute for even more steeps. Can get up to eight or nine steeps if done properly from a good oolong.
    I've never liked brewing black tea using gong-fu style myself, but if you try it, use a tippy Chinese black tea and definitely use water about 190 degrees. First steeping maybe 30 seconds, second for 45, third brewing a minute.

    Pu'erh is the easiest again. 30 seconds for first brewing, increase by five seconds for each successive brewing up to 15 or 16 times!

    Note: Oolong and pu'erh teas are rinsed before being brewed in the gong-fu style to help "open leaves." Apply water at the proper brewing temp, just enough to barely cover the leaves and then drain. Do not drink this water, discard immediately and then begin your first steep.

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    Caffeine in tea...

    There is the commonly held belief that there is a caffeine hierarchy when it comes to tea that goes a little like this:

    White tea: Almost none
    Green tea: 25-50 mgs
    Yellow tea: 25-50 mgs
    Oolong tea: 35-75 mgs
    Black tea: 50-100 mgs
    Pu'erh tea: Extremely variable

    The truth is, oxidation of the tea does tend to increase the caffeine content in tea though the exact science is not understood. However, it's not really this simple.

    For example, many varieties of white tea can have a good amount of caffeine because the young buds and leaves must protect themselves from insects and other herbivores that would eat them and caffeine is a potent defense mechanism so from this perspective, the younger the leaves are can also quite effect the caffeine contained in the leaves.

    Also, tea tends to lose a little caffeine as it ages, so you can drop a bit of caffeine by consuming older leaves. However, this does not make much overall difference and the impact on the flavor of your leaves by aging them is not always recommended (unless it's pu'erh tea, then go ahead!), so this may not be the best method for lowering caffeine totals in your tea.

    Also, tea, regardless of the type of leaf or amount of caffeine takes about three minutes of continuos brewing to extract all the caffeine from the leaf. So this could be one brewing of three minutes, two brewings of 1.5 minutes, three brewings of a minute, etc. before all of the caffeine has been extracted. So the usual recommendation of rinsing the tea for about twenty seconds to reduce the caffeine content does work, but it might not actually reduce the caffeine in the leaf as much as you hoped. And any rinse much longer than that is going to affect the flavor of your tea so I personally wouldn't recommend that.

    Per pound, green tea leaves have more caffeine than the equivalent of coffee beans, however, you use FAR more coffee beans typically to brew a cup than for tea so the resultant coffee brew tends to contain more caffeine than brewed tea. This is just an average measure of course.

    Of course, one cannot discuss the caffeine tea without acknowledging the fact that tea has a fair amount of a rare amino acids known as l-theanine. Only one other organism, a fairly hard to locate mushroom, also contains this unique amino acid. What is special about l-theanine is its ability to break the blood/brain barrier which is hard for a lot of molecules to do. This means it can exert its effects directly on the brain. Many people find l-theanine to be very calming which is exactly the opposite of what people report of caffeine, so tea can be much easier for many people to tollerate because the l-theanine somewhat mitigates the jittery feelings often caused by caffeine. Tea has a storied history of being used to treat nervousness and anxiety disorders and recent evidence suggesting that the l-theanine in tea might be why it was so useful in this regard. Supplements of l-theanine (usually synthetically created) are now available and many people use it to help them relax a bit and reduce anxiety.

    Here is some good info on l-theanine and it's uses: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=653856
    Last edited by Drumroll; 04-28-2013 at 04:27 AM. Reason: Added discussion of theanine.

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    Well, but what about the health benefits of tea?

    But surely the main reason for drinking tea is its health benefits, right?

    Yes and no. There are those that drink tea merely because they find doing so to be a pleasurable act. And that in itself might be considered a health benefit, but we'll get to that. There are those that chug down tea bags just because of its supposed health benefits and being a terrific source of antioxidants. Nothing wrong with that either. And there are those that recognize and understand both aspects of tea and drink it for the combination of reasons.

    Wait, how is drinking tea for pleasure already some sort of health benefit?

    Well, even if tea had no supposed health benefits at all (but it does, trust me on this) there is a certain zen in the way the Asians approach tea drinking. They take pride in serving a quality beverage. They take their time to select the proper brewing vessel for each type of tea in question. They are careful to make sure the water is at the proper temperature for each type of tea so as not to scorch the leaf or draw out too much bitterness in the brew. They make sure to brew the tea for the proper amount of time so as not to overbrew the leaves and draw out too much flavor or to under few the leaves and make for a weak cup with no flavor. They savor the aroma of the unbrewed leaves, check for quality of the leaves. They noisily slurp at the tea to draw the aroma into their nostrils and they drink their tea slowly. This whole process takes time. In the Asian view, brewing a good cup of tea is akin to a form of meditation. You must concentrate on the leaves, making the tea. It removes you from your thoughts, your troubles, your stress. In Asian thought, brewing a good cup of tea is time away from the world, time to spend relaxing and focusing in on yourself and your senses, your body, your mind.

    In essence, taking in a good cup of properly brewed tea is a time to destress, relax, and be at one with the world, to appreciate that which nature has given you by producing the proper cup of tea. Why do you think the Chinese can spend hours a day in tea houses enjoying tea? Why do you think the Japanese have multiple, elaborate ceremonies around the making of matcha tea (which is almost an art in itself)?

    Oh, so tea then, is often about the simply taking time to unwind and appreciate things in a way you can't in our hectic, modern lives?

    Many Asians see it that way and sometimes all you need to dramatically improve your health is to learn to take a little time for yourself.

    Wow, ok, that is a little bit of a zen experience then! But what about the sciencey and nutritional stuff?

    Well, the research around tea has mostly investigated the role of the antioxidants in tea and how they effect the body in various ways.

    I'd heard it was a good source of them! Just like berries and herbs and veggies, right?

    Precisely. In fact, depending on the tea beverage, even more so in many cases. Right now, green tea has the most research regarding its potential health effects, but it is not the only tea that has benefits. All tea does. In fact, depending on your specific health concerns you may want to consider different types of tea. Here is a list providing a general background of tea benefits, though I will go into a little bit more detail following this:

    Green and white teas have been reviewed and studied for their high levels of antioxidants, the potential to reduce chronic inflammation markers, and the role they may play in preventing or helping treat various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.

    Oolong tea has been shown to greatly increase insulin sensitivity and seems to increase metabolism (the ability to burn calories) greater than other types of tea.

    Black tea has two remarkable benefits. The first is, of all the tea types it seems to be the most cardio protective. The second is, for whatever reason, black tea lowers cortisol despite the caffeine in it which might often be speculated to raise cortisol levels.

    Pu'erh tea research is relatively new. It is being investigated as a great way to reduce elevated cholesterol. Preliminary evidence shows that it may be even more effective than statins for reducing cholesterol levels. Let's hear it for natural remedies! Pu'erh tea has also been shown to increase the body's ability to efficiently digest fats. It is also thought that even though it contains relatively few antioxidants compared to other types of tea, the fermentation process the leaves undergo instigate radical changes to the make-up of these antioxidants which might actually make it the most effective of the teas at reducing free radical damage in the body.

    Note: Yellow tea is very similar to green tea in terms of chemical make-up so it is theorized that these teas would have similar health effects as the greens do.

    So, what do I do if I want all of these great benefits to drinking tea?

    Keep your consumption of tea varied and learn to enjoy teas from all of the different categories we've talked about. Rotation also keeps the tea pallet from getting stale.

    What can you tell me about green and white teas?

    Green and white teas have been investigated largely for their role in reducing chronic diseases such as cancer because of the high levels of antioxidants they contain. For example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946098/

    Of particular note is the high levels of epigallocatchen-3-gallate (EGCG) in tea which is the main antioxidant that seems to provide the majority of the health benefits from these types of tea. The more oxidized a tea is, the less the EGCG levels contained in the tea will be.

    So as teas change in oxidation levels the more their antioxidant make-up changes?

    Absolutely! Green tea and white tea are mostly catechin antioxidants such as EGCG and black tea (depending on if it is given a slow oxidation or rapid oxidation) are a various combination of antioxidants known as thearubigans and theaflavins (http://www.biriz.biz/cay/literatur/malditof.pdf). Oolong teas, which are anywhere from 10-90% oxidized, vary a bit in their antioxidant make-up. Since they are never fully oxidized, they contain a mix of the various tea polyphenols. The less oxidized they are the more they will contain green tea catechins. The more oxidized, the more thearubigins and theaflavins they will have.

    What about the pu'erh teas then? Where do they fall on this spectrum?

    Pu'erh teas are a different beast altogether since they are fermented and not simply oxidized (http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/17/12/14037/pdf and maxwellsci.com/print/ajas/(2)48-54.pdf). Depending on whether it is sheng (raw or unoxidized) or shou (cooked or oxidized) pu'erh it can have antioxidants similar to either black or green teas or even completely different from either. However, it seems that regardless of the tea type, the fermentation seems to increase the effectiveness of these polyphenols found in the tea although why this is is still being studied.

    So this difference I oxidation level and antioxidant type is what determines the specific health benefits of differing types of tea?

    Science has not conformed this 100% just yet but it seems to be the most common explanation for the differences in the benefits of various teas.

    For example, black tea consumption, as I mentioned before, is often associated with a reduction in cardio vascular disease risk: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/104/2/151.full and http://www.clinsciusa.org/cs/102/0195/1020195.pdf and http://teaadvisorypanel.com/files/re...TOXICOLOGY.pdf

    Black tea was also shown to reduce cortisol levels after stressful events: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17013636

    Another good example of this is oolong tea. While all types of tea have been show to raise metabolism somewhat, it is oolong teas unique combination of EGCG, theaflavins, thearubigans, and caffeine together that likely produce it's increased metabolic enhancing effect as compared to other types of tea: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/131/11/2848.full.pdf and http://medical.med.tokushima-u.ac.jp...p170.pdf?q=tea

    Of course, one would expect less oxidized oolongs to be more similar in benefits to green tea and more oxidized oolongs similar to black tea in benefits, but really, they do form a unique middle ground combining the benefits of their unique mixture of tea polyphenols in ways that black tea and green tea cannot do on their own.

    Lastly, we come to the strange, but fascinating pu'erh tea. As I said before, little is known about its antioxidant make-up, which depends partly on how the tea is processed (unoxidized or oxidized) and how the fermentation of both forms of the tea impacts their respective antioxidants, especially the aging process which can be dozens of years for particularly high quality pu'erh teas. A few generalizations about pu'erh teas can be made however.

    Pu'erh teas are increasingly being shown more effective than statin drugs for lowering cholesterol: http://www.aseanfood.info/Articles/11022086.pdf and http://drinktealike.com/web/pdf/TP_c...rh_effects.pdf and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19348878

    Pu'erh tea might even be a more potent free radical fighter than the famed green and white teas: http://www.aseanfood.info/Articles/11018334.pdf and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15612813

    One final note that seems to apply to almost all types of tea is that tea in general seems to increase bone density and reduce risk of osteoporosis: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/data...2/ioi10300.pdf and http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/4/1243.full.pdf and http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/4/1003.full.pdf
    Last edited by Drumroll; 04-28-2013 at 02:05 PM.

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    I bow down to your tea geekery

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernMonkeyGirl View Post
    I bow down to your tea geekery
    Heh, thanks. If you're gonna spend the money, might as well do it right.

    Now to stop getting lazy and do the whole health benefits part...

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    Boy, I need a life and I know it.

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    I suppose since rooibos is not technically a tea (not of the tea plant), it doesn't get any love in your treatise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    I suppose since rooibos is not technically a tea (not of the tea plant), it doesn't get any love in your treatise?
    Sorry PB, but there are hundreds of thousands, nay MILLIONS, of herbs, spices, and veggies that can be brewed as "tisanes" and trying to cover the ground of that would take forever. It is WAY beyond the scope of anything I could ever hope to cover and if I cover one, people would ask me to cover others. It's that dang dominoe effect!

    I recommend you look into a book called "20,000 Secrets of Tea" by Victoria Zak. I do believe there is a Kindle version if you swing that way.

  10. #10
    Timbobaggins's Avatar
    Timbobaggins is offline Junior Member
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    Fantastic reading. I love a good tea, I'm particularly fond of Japanese Sencha, Gunpowder Supreme, Earl Grey, Dragon Well, and more, white tea tends to be expensive, I'm guessing this is due to the extra care and time it takes to process it. I was aware of the health benefits before and that was originally why I started drinking it, but I came to love tea and appreciate all the different tastes and the calm that comes with it. Very informative, I take my hat off to you Sir.

    As far as roobois is concerned, this is a brew (me and my friends call them brews or infusions, tisane is a new one on me!), I know that it comes from the redbush plant and is drank traditionally as a national beverage in south africa I believe, sometimes it is sweetened or with milk added, I prefer to drink it as it is.
    Last edited by Timbobaggins; 04-28-2013 at 01:06 PM.

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